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Governors find their moment — and peril

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POLITICO, August 2020

It is sometimes called the best job in American politics. The nation’s governors have a degree of prestige, autonomy and agenda-setting power in their states that far surpasses anything enjoyed by the typical politician.

In almost every state, they also get to live in an elegant mansion as part of the bargain.

For at least the next year — on the front lines of the public health and economic wreckage caused by the coronavirus — anyone holding one of these supposed dream jobs is going to have some long nights that might more closely resemble nightmares.

The 50 governors now have a centrality in American life that exceeds anything seen in generations. Every path forward for the country, from opening schools to reviving the economy and some semblance of normal routines, travels through their offices. But with the pandemic now at the six-month mark — and its lasting consequences likely to be several times that length — this new influence comes freighted with paradox:


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